As nationwide voting began yesterday in the United States, the early reports in the media mostly concerned problems with electronic voting machines—with glitches affecting early balloting from Florida to New Mexico. Yet by the time most of the votes had been tallied, the consensus seemed to be that e-voting had not caused much of a bother with national and local elections.
"Overall, it looks like all the predictions of disaster turned out wrong," Doug Lewis, executive director of the Election Center, a nonpartisan organization of state election officials, told the Associated Press.
Others cautioned that the extent of e-voting misbehavior may not be known until the results of the various elections and ballot initiatives could be examined and thoroughly studied. "I don't think we're in the clear," Michael Alvarez, a political science professor at the California Institute of Technology, said yesterday. "Even 24 months from now, many of these states and counties will continue struggling with these issues."
Some notable electronic glitches did cause a stir. For example:
- In Denver, hundreds of voters waited long past the 7 p.m. deadline at polling centers straining to overcome problems with new voting machines.
- In Texas, officials recounted ballots after a computer showed a long-shot Constitution Party candidate ahead by a big margin in a race for Congress.
- In Cook County, Ill., cartridges with the tabulated vote totals had to be taken to the county clerk's office in Chicago, because officials could not digitally transmit them.
So the specter of corrupted techno-balloting on a large scale seems, for the time being at least, to have passed into the night as Election Day concluded—and democracy effectively prevailed against yet another challenge.